Brathwaite’s hundred continues West Indies’ resurgence

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By Andrew McGlashan

Tea West Indies 206 for 3 (Brathwaite 102*, S Hope 85*) trail England 258 by 52 runs

(ESPNcricinfo)West Indies carried their vastly improved bowling display into their batting performance on the second day at Headingley with Kraigg Brathwaite’s sixth Test century guiding them to 206 for 3 tea in an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 171 alongside Shai Hope.

Brathwaite went to both his landmarks with sixes, lofting Tom Westley over long-on from the penultimate ball before tea to reach his century off 189 balls. He had done the same against Moeen Ali to reach his half-century during the morning session, the ball after being given lbw before the DRS showed he was struck outside the line. He was twice thankful for the reviews: on 35 he was given lbw to Stuart Broad but there was an inside edge.

The pair came together with the innings tottering on 35 for 3 and the ball zipping around under cloudy skies. James Anderson had added the two early wickets to his one from last night, moving to 495 overall, and further success felt imminent. However, Brathwaite and Hope battled it out while conditions remained in the bowlers’ favour, then as the ball grew older and the sun appeared started to cash in during a wicketless afternoon session. As the players walked off at the interval, England had some furrowed brows and thoughts were firmly on a West Indies lead.

Brathwaite, the only player in the West Indies’ squad with over 2000 runs, made an unbeaten 142 in the victory of Pakistan in Sharjah which is only West Indies’ third overseas victory since 2000 against anyone other than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. He benefitted from his tendency to play the ball late which helped him counter the swing and also prevented edges from carrying to the slips. When the bowlers tried to go straighter he clipped them off his pads and was strong through the covers off front and back foot.

Shai Hope, who made his Test debut against England in Barbados in 2015, is highly regarded in the Caribbean and has been stuck by despite limited success in his early days. Three matches ago, against Pakistan, he made his first major contribution with 90 against Pakistan and here showed excellent composure in a situation that tested his mettle against the moving ball.

His fifty came from 72 balls with a strong straight drive against Chris Woakes and he came through Ben Stokes’ attempts to unsettle him which included a hefty blow on the back of the helmet from a slippery bouncer. Ten minutes before tea, on 72, he flicked a delivery from Moeen to short leg but Mark Stoneman couldn’t cling on – it would have been an unfortunate way to go and West Indies’ effort deserved a few things to go their way

England will consider that their bowling was a little off the mark throughout the day. They struggled to locate a full length – with both Brathwaite and Hope confident playing on the back foot – with Broad, especially, appearing off colour. Woakes, on his return to the Test arena, bowled an impressive first spell of seven overs in which he was unlucky not to take a wicket but his burst after lunch was loose and allowed West Indies to build some momentum.

Things had look significantly different early on while Anderson continued his impressive form. By the time he was replaced, he had figures of 12-6-10-3 from a spell which began yesterday evening with Kieran Powell’s wicket. It did not take long for Anderson to remove nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo who edged a cut shot in the fifth over of the day, then he handed Kyle Hope another tough examination early in his Test career. After a series of outswingers, it was an inswinger which found Hope’s outside edge and Joe Root took an excellent catch to his left at second slip. At that point it would have been a brave person to reckon against him – and England – not adding to their tally before tea.

 

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